The Youth Gang Epidemic That Was — or Wasn’t: Fighting Gangs: The Money

September 1, 2000

The National Youth Gang Center lists 24 federal agencies whose programs involve gangs or gang members, but there is no way to account for how much federal money goes to anti-gang policing and intervention programs. “It’s impossible to find the total amount,” says Buddy Howell, a former director of research and program development at the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Anti-gang efforts “are scattered among so many agencies, and some of it wouldn’t actually be listed as gang money.”

Following are some examples:

Since 1995 OJJDP has funded five test sites to replicate the anti-gang effort in the Little Village section of Chicago. So far, the University of California/Riverside has received $2.2 million for programs in that city; the city of Mesa, Ariz., has received $2.2 million; Our Town Family Center in Tucson, Ariz., and Project OZ in Bloomington, Ill., have received $1.7 million each; and the police department in San Antonio, Texas, has received $1.2 million.

Over five years, the University of Chicago has received grants totaling $3 million to conduct evaluations of the five test cities and $725,000 for technical assistance and training for OJJDP test programs. Sociology professor Irving Spergel heads the project.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will give $13 million to police agencies for programs to stop sixth and seventh graders from joining gangs.

Last year OJJDP awarded grants ranging from $112,000 to $125,000 to four rural jurisdictions to begin comprehensive anti-gang efforts: Cowlitz County (Vancouver), Wash.; Elk City, Okla.; Glenn County (Willows), Calif.; and Mt. Vernon, Ill.

For Fiscal Year 2000, OJJDP will spend $12 million on its Youth Gangs Program, which provides grants to public agencies and nonprofit organizations to prevent and reduce gang participation by at-risk youth. Recipients include the Metro Denver Gang Coalition ($50,000) and Operation Clean Break, Chicago ($900,000).

Since 1990, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America has received a total $6.6 million in OJJDP grants for its Gang Prevention Through Targeted Outreach programs. They provide case-managed recreation and education activities for youngsters referred to clubs via courts, police, schools and social service agencies.

Myers, Jim. "The Youth Gang Epidemic That Was — or Wasn’t: Fighting Gangs: The Money." Youth Today, September 2000, p. 50.

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